Young Credit Union Execs Build on GAC Experience
The Crashers are out to do more than just shake up the status quo–they have real plans aimed at helping credit unions.
Consisting of about 120 young credit union professionals, the Crash Network began in 2010 as way for those under 30 to get more involved with the industry. This year 16 young credit union professionals were selected to crash CUNA’s 2011 GAC for the first time and complete a service project designed to drive change either at their credit unions, the industry or both.
Following the event, Brent Dixon, Crash Network founder and young adult adviser with the Filene Research Institute, recently hosted a webinar, "Rehash the Crash," to discuss what’s next.
One of the biggest takeaways from GAC was a sense of empowerment that young professionals can make an impact today. They don’t have to wait until they are in the corner office.
"People are more scared about failing than continuing the status quo, and I think that’s a huge mistake," said Amanda Thomas, marketing/business development manager at Columbus, Ohio-based Members First Credit Union and first time crasher. "I’m really still processing the experience. We did so much that I’ve never done before and met people I really admire and respect. I’ve followed their careers, read their blogs and was blown away when these same people were telling our group how much they admired us?"
Most of the service projects crashers will be working on moving forward revolve around either growing a localized young credit union professional community or building member financial literacy efforts.
For example, Thomas hopes to organize an Ohio innovation group similar to Filene’s i3 to foster innovation and relationships among credit union professionals around the state. She’d also like to tie in a political advocacy and development-training element to a statewide "Up and Comers" network for young credit union professionals.
"Ideally, the end result would be better ideas for Ohio credit unions, more retention and attraction of young talent and bridging the gap from ideas to actually getting them implemented," said Thomas. "It doesn’t just have to be young professionals, but anyone who is interested in raising the bar."
If the 16 crashers have their way, look for dynamic young professional groups to be launched in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, Connecticut and Seattle. Plans are also underway to create more mentoring programs and host financial reality fairs.